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Madville Times Readers: Huge Opposition to Corporate Welfare, Daugaard Education Plan

Support for Ed/Med Sales Tax Strong, But Questionable?

The latest Madville Times polls asked you, dear readers, how you will vote on the two referred laws and one voter-initiated measure on the South Dakota ballot. In totally voluntary online polling open from Monday morning to Thursday morning, you cast your votes as follows:

How will you vote on Referred Law 14, the Governor's economic development slush fund?

  • No: 82% (118)
  • Yes: 18% (26)
  • Total Voters: 144

How will you vote on Initiated Measure 15, the state sales tax increase to fund K-12 education and Medicaid?

  • Yes: 57% (84)
  • No: 43% (63)
  • Total Voters: 147

How will you vote on Referred Law 16, the Governor's education reform bill (merit pay, etc.)?

  • No: 81% (121)
  • Yes: 19% (29)
  • Total Voters: 150

I'll grant that the standard margin of error in Madville Times polls is just slightly smaller than the gap between Governor Daugaard's education agenda and sound pedagogical practice. Heck, to weed out my hopeful echo-chamber bias, I'll even spot you all 22 percentage points, the amount by which my poll on the Varilek-Barth primary race overstated Barth's real support. Even if this poll is that wrong, both of Governor Daugaard's referred laws—his corporate welfare plan and his anti-union, pro-corporate-test merit pay plan—go down in November 60&ndash40.

But that would also mean the sales tax increase would go down by a similar margin. Nielson Brothers Polling, the only show in town with professional polling data, finds the same Yes-No proportion that I do (note that I didn't offer an "undecided" option). The estimable Mr. Gibilisco guesses that Initiated Measure 15 is a toss-up; I agree... but then I subtract a few points to back-jinx my optimism.

In the real world, I can see all three downward-adjusted results coming true. Referred Law 14 and Referred Law 16 can draw a lot of default "No" votes from folks who (not unreasonably) reject complicated laws that they can't fully grasp in a ten-second scan of the ballot. Attentive Democrats will en bloc against both referred laws as an opportunity to prevent the transfer of millions of dollars to rich GOP-backing corporations and to give Governor Daugaard two black eyes. And some conservative Republicans will bolt from the party line and vote against two referred laws that simply are not conservative.

Meanwhile, Initiated Measure 15 could easily draw a majority "No" from folks who stop reading the ballot at the word "tax." Add some progressives who feel queasy about increasing a regressive tax and let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and IM 15 goes down.

Read those tea leaves, dear neighbors!


  1. grudznick 2012.09.27

    I don't buy much so that 25% increase in tax would do little to me. But if it went straight to good teachers (only) as a bonus I would gladly pay it. But do not tax me and give that money to gravy trainers.

  2. Bill Fleming 2012.09.27

    Well it makes sense, right Cory?
    I mean, who wants to vote to tax themselves?
    Besides, isn't that the legislature's job?

  3. grudznick 2012.09.27

    The news just said we need a whole bunch of math and science teachers. Obama says it and wants to give bonuses to math and science teachers. I can't believe Mr. H. that you would be against Obama's plan to give bonuses to math and science teachers. This was on NBC news. I can't make that stuff up like Bill's queen of spain stuff.

  4. Bill Fleming 2012.09.27

    Grudz you know all about gravy trains, right?
    I mean, you are the gravy train conductor, buddy.
    All Aboard!

  5. grudznick 2012.09.27

    My train is only like a gravy boat or big plate of taters, Bill. You didn't hear me last Tuesday when I defended my use of social security to pay my bills. I think you may have been too busy calculating the tip.

  6. Bill Fleming 2012.09.27

    Probably right.

  7. Stan Gibilisco 2012.09.27

    For info, I voted "No" in your poll on the sales tax increase, although in fact I'm on the fence about it. I think the key issue will be trust, as I outline in the video I made for this particular situation:

    I sense a deep, entrenched distrust of politicians among South Dakotans, and that distrust could kill the tax measure when people, on election day, realize that they must, right then, pull a lever or punch a chad or fill in a dot that actually counts.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.27

    Believe it: I am against much of President Obama's education agenda. I don't think he has the right ideas for South Dakota.

    That said, Barack Obama will still do less damage to education and the general welfare than Mitt Romney.

  9. Justin 2012.09.27

    I voted no as well Stan, but I am also on the fence.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.27

    Dang: is this "No, but sitting fence" position common among my IM 15 voters? Stan, could something happen in the next five weeks to earn your trust on this bill?

  11. Stan Gibilisco 2012.09.27

    Cory, my distrust is not confined to South Dakota legislators. As a matter of fact, I'd say that South Dakota legislators have more of my trust than, say, Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan or Barack Obama or Joe Biden or the people in Congress. And of course, any change to the law (such as putting that penny in the general fund) would probably have to pass through the Governor on its way into law.

    It's not just this bill, Cory. It's any bill.

    I might vote in favor of this bill anyway, though, with the notion that our state could make good use of a little more revenue, especially in light of anticipated problems with Medicaid coming along down the road, and the aging population generally.

    And of course I really would like to see teachers get a big pay raise to put us on a par with, say, Wyoming in that respect.


  12. Justin 2012.09.27

    I would be greatly swayed if the entire Daugaard administration especially including Jackley and Gant stepped down or perished in a plane crash in the next five weeks.

    They will make a travesty of any referendum. I don't think our legislature is any better either. Personally I trust the Feds more, at least we have a modicum of transparency there. We have voted against abortion bans as a state twice and the administration and the legislature seem to think correcting our "mistake" theren is their biggest mandate.

    If I could be 100% sure that it would be spent as intended I would vote for it. Maybe I need to be educated on how it is certain. But if there is a way to break it to fund a slush fund when the slush fund is voted down, Daugaard and Jackley will do it.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.28

    (Careful, Justin: wishing a plane crash on South Dakota's executive branch touches on some hard memories. Besides, DCI already has its hands full looking for one crazy guy making threats against Dennis.)

    Justin, you do make a good point in siting the Legislature's continued efforts to work around our popular rejection of abortion restrictions. That willingness to subvert the popular will casts doubt on the reliability of IM 15's guarantee that the new revenue would go to education and Medicaid as intended.

    Stan, raising our teacher pay to match Wyoming's would be an excellent and reasonable policy goal. No games, no extra hours or obligations, just an increase to that fair and competitive wage. I'm with you.

    Stan and Justin, I'm intrigued by the opposing viewpoints on which level we can trust more, state or federal. On education, I remain a liberal localist. In general, I might lean toward thinking that I can more easily challenge and hold accountable misperforming state legislators and the governor. But I also recognize that we need federal teeth to protect some civil rights. Complicated!

    (But dang, now I have to go parse out Denny's decision to turn our health care exchange over to federal control....)

  14. Bill Fleming 2012.09.28

    Okay, time out.

    Justin's plane crash comment deserves more than a little slap on the wrist, Cory.I call for him to apologise for it immediately and for you to remove all mention of it from your page here.

    Short of that, anything he says after expressing such a wish holds no credibility with me (or rightfully with anyone else) whatsoever.

    His remark is unconscionable and despicable.

  15. Justin 2012.09.28

    I did not wish any such thing Bill. I was merely stating a circumstance that would sway my vote on a referendum. Your sanctimonious act is stale and embarrassing. I do apologize, to anybody that shares Bill's poor reading comprehension. Your state should have provided a better education to you.

  16. Bill Fleming 2012.09.28

    What a perfect, jackass you are Justin. Your mother must be so proud.

  17. Bill Fleming 2012.09.28

    There is absolutely no rational justification for the mention of a plane crash. None.
    It was mean spirited, cruel, and inflammatory.
    And reprehensible.

  18. Justin 2012.09.28

    Stop embarrassing yourself and the rest of us.

    Name calling is a symptom of a feeble mind.

  19. Bill Fleming 2012.09.28

    Just calling a spade a spade, Justin.
    If you are embarassed, good.
    You should be.

  20. Justin 2012.09.28

    On second thought, keep going. I want to see how far you will take this puerile display of feigned indignance.

  21. DB 2012.09.28

    "Stop embarrassing yourself and the rest of us." kettle

  22. Bill Fleming 2012.09.28

    Actually, we've reached the point where Tom Daschle's advice applies, Justin. "Never wrestle with a hog. You get dirty and the hog has all the fun."

    If you feel justified in your remark, that's your problem. No one else is buying it.

  23. Justin 2012.09.28

    Encore! Encore!

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.28

    Justin, this is more than feigned indignance. On definitely the historic level and arguably the legal level, saying you'd like to see the SD executive branch wiped out in a plane crash deserves some angry response. Bill is no reactionary or faker. There are ways to make your point without jamming a knife in the very real emotional wound this state suffered when Governor George Mickelson and seven other South Dakotans died in a plane crash in April 1993.

  25. Justin 2012.09.28

    I never said I would like to see it, that is revisionist.

    My best friend died in a plane crash LAST YEAR. I'll thank both of you for the lecture, but stop wishing I said something I didn't so you can get up on a pedestal to proclaim moral superiority.

  26. Bill Fleming 2012.09.28

    Listen, Justin, both Cory and I know quite well how to read.

    Here is exactly what you wrote:

    "I would be greatly swayed if the entire Daugaard administration especially including Jackley and Gant stepped down or perished in a plane crash in the next five weeks.

    They will make a travesty of any referendum."

    Now, either explain why you thought the plane crash language was appropriate, or take what you said back and apologize.

    What you obviously wrote here — plain as day — is you would only be swayed if the entire current administration either resigned or was tragically killed. There is simply no other way to read it.

    If you meant something other than you wrote, here's your chance to correct yourself. But don't blame the rest of us for not being able to read your mind.

    All we have to go on is the words you put to [virtual] paper.

    If you didn't mean them, retract them.

    What you don't get to do is deny the way we feel about the words you wrote. You have to own the consequences of your actions.

  27. Justin 2012.09.28

    Cory asked if there is anything that would sway our votes between now and the election. I said that it would take some pretty outlandish events that would change the administration completely.

    Look at it and tell me where I wished or wanted it to happen. If you want this referendum to pass YOU may wish that it happens so I will vote for it. I never said anything of the sort. I guess I will apologize for what you WISH I said.

    You should apologize to me for saying that I wished for somebody's death when I clearly did nothing of the sort. If your reading comprehension is so good how can you quote the damn thing again and still not realize you are lying about what I said?

  28. Bill Fleming 2012.09.28

    You're the one who appears to be unable to read, Justin.

    I never said you wished for anything ( what I wrote, not what you wish I wrote.) I said your comment about the administration dying in a plane crash was offensive on its face.

    Whether or not you wished for it is moot point.

    It was an ugly thing to say, and you had no good reason to say it other than to inflame. If you didn't know the history of a prior administration's tragedy, you do now. You insult their memory and arguable to those of your friend as well by mentioning such a horrific thing in the context of a political discussion on a blog with people you don't know.

    And to the degree your intention was to inflame, you succeeded.

    Now, deal with the consequences.

    And maybe think about getting some anger management therapy.

  29. Justin 2012.09.28

    My reading comprehension is fine.

    You said "short of that, anything he says after expressing such a wish holds no credibility..."

    Cory said "saying you'd like to see the SD executive branch wiped out in a plane crash.."

    You both either misread what I said or are purposely trying to spin what I said into a murderous threat and I lost a lot of respect for both of you for doing so.

    The point was not to inflame it was to say that it would be highly unlikely that I would trust this government to handle more taxes.

    You are the one that needs anger management therapy as well as reading lessons. Everything and anything is an excuse for you to call people names and make a spectacle of yourself to proclaim your moral superiority.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.28

    I have nothing to gain from spinning your words, Justin. I'm saying your words prick a painful memory here that need not be pricked. This particular turn of phrase does inflame; we should expect heat to arise from it. Turn down the volume, step back a moment, and, as my principal said just today at our in-service, decide whether your point here is a 2 or a 10.

  31. grudznick 2012.09.28

    Mr. Justin. You are insaner than Mr. Howie.
    That puts you at about an 8.

  32. Justin 2012.09.28

    I admit it was an unfortunate comment and I apologize to anybody I offended.

    If you have nothing to gain from falsely accusing somebody of murderous intent and talking of manhunts, I would suggest you think more carefully about what you say as well.

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.28

    All right, let's all take it down a notch. This doesn't have to be a personal witch-hunt. Let's just acknowledge the poor choice of words in our political and historical context and move on. The point is well taken that the GOP's control of South Dakota government has reduced our trust therein in various ways. Ending that GOP control would require a seismic shift in voting patterns.

    Now here's the thing: if we could push all three of these ballot measures to the outcome hinted by an optimistic reading of this online poll, we would make significant progress toward that goal. Passing IM15 would blast a hole in the Russ Olson-GOP mythology that the Legislature can't support any new taxes because the voters will never accept them. Defeating RL14 and RL16 would kill Governor Daugaard's two signature pieces of legislation, pour cold water on his ideological advisors' aspirations, and signal weakness in his power to both legislators who may want to actually act like legislators and to strong candidates who might want to challenge Daugaard in 2014. I'm not banking on a trifecta, but for the good of the state in terms of policy and politics, a triple play could be a landmark moment.

  34. grudznick 2012.09.28

    Except for the taxing of me to not give good teachers more money, Mr. H. That would be a terrible terrible thing. If you are going to tax old people like me then put the money towards the general good. And if you are going to give money to the fat-cat adminstrators and slovenly schools then make them put it towards giving good teachers bonuses. Like Obama wants.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.28

    I'm not totally sold on IM 15 as policy in of itself, Grudz. But if it does pass, you will still be free to go buy your gravy taters in bulk in Wyoming.

    And I will tell Congressman Varilek to pay a visit to President Obama after his Second Inauguration to tell him to drop this merit pay nonsense. I'll send along the research that says so.

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